So I was thinking, what would it hurt me to give? The first thing that always comes to mind is my gym membership. :) That would hurt. :) Another thing is cable. I mean, we don't need it. Giving up the gym and cable would free up close to $150 a month. Is that what God wants me to do? . . . Then I was going through the girls' plethora of clothes and toys that we are keeping stored up "in case we have ten children", and thinking of people I could bless with it. Because honestly, we have been SO ABUNDANTLY BLESSED. Seriously. God has sent so many people into our lives who have given us BAGS of clothes for our girls. Probably 75% of what we have has been given to us, not bought. It just seems right to keep the giving going. But my mind tells me to wait until God is through blessing us with children, because what if we have five more girls and need these clothes?? Still, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to give, so I was going through and finding things to give. I found myself putting things aside that were old and ratty anyway, that I wouldn't really mind giving away. In my mind I heard David Platt saying, "Give what it hurts to give." Was my giving prompted more by the desire to simplify than my desire to give generously, with a cheerful heart? Was I being like the Israelites in the desert, trying to store today's manna for tomorrow because I didn't believe that God would keep providing??
On our last day in D.C., as we were discussing our abundant blessings and the fact that God wants us to give, we were walking through a mall (those terrible malls again, rearing their ugly heads! HA!), and we came across a Sleep Number store. Since Brian is convinced that our mattress is sagging and giving him backaches,we went in just to "see what this was all about". Half an hour later I was convinced that I, too, had been having back issues and that if we just had the right mattress, we would both feel so much better. For a mere $4,000 our problems could be solved. HA! Can you believe it? How quickly our flesh comes in! As we were leaving the store, we were talking about issues like this. Does God want us to keep sleeping on a bad mattress? Would He be pleased if we bought a new one? Or would He tell us that $4,000 could have been sent to Africa to feed a bunch of starving children? How far does God want us to go? What does He want us to give up and what does He simply want to bless us with??
These are questions I'm wrestling with and asking God for answers to in my life right now. Two weeks ago, I was convinced that Samuel had to have a new, boyish baby bag and I was unstoppable in my search for the perfect one. When I started going through the girls' clothes, I came across a nice, sturdy Land's End baby bag that one of Brian's aunts had given us that even has the name "Rodgers" on it. It's more boyish than the rest of our bags. Certainly I could use this bag and not insist on having a new one. So there I was again. . . God, do you want me to have a new bag or should I use this one?? I think He delights in helping us even through the little things like that.
I want to make sure I'm not being deceived by the age-old deception of Satan way back in Genesis 3. . . "Did God really say. . . ?" David Platt talks about how in our church culture we temper what Jesus actually said in the Bible to be more acceptable. "What Jesus really meant by that was. . . " We rationalize, we put things in more palatable terms, we tell ourselves God really just wants us to be happy. And that is true, God does want us to be happy. But that happiness can only come from HIM, not from a new mattress or the perfect baby bag or all the clothes being stored just right in case we need them. My prayer is that I will know what God really said and I will obey it. Even if it hurts.